M&S has certainly gone all out with the grandad styling, with the traditional ribbed top and long johns. These are actually the only merino wool base layers in the test and have a fluffy brushed backing. Merino wool is really soft so there’s no need to worry about them being itchy (unless you have a wool allergy that is). The top has a relatively relaxed fit, however with my 6ft-plus height I found the legs (size XL) come up a little short.
To test the insulative properties of each garment, we measured the cooling rate of a bladder of warm water placed inside the base layer’s top. We filled plastic bags with 500 millimetres of water at 50ºC and used aquarium thermometers to take in-situ temperature measurements of the water in 15-minute intervals, over a two-hour period. The wicking test was performed by dripping a 0.5ml bubble of water onto the material’s surface. We then measured the time taken for the water bubble to be absorbed, become damp and then completely dry.
Test Results As the only merino wool product on test we were excited to see how these performed, and we weren’t disappointed. They performed very well in both the insulation and wicking test. You could actually feel that the water had been quickly absorbed into the fabric and felt less wet pretty much straightaway. It did take a little longer than the Chub and Wychwood garms to completely dry out though. In all we were pretty impressed with their performance.
PROS Great performance all round.
CONS Style-wise, you may look like an OAP.
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